Death has been swallowed up by a victory.1 Corinthians 15:54b-58
55 Where is your victory, Death?
Where is your sting, Death?
(56 Death’s sting is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.) 57 Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.
Death has been swallowed up in victory. That is the crux of the Gospel that makes Easter the greatest day in our faith. Resurrection is the defeat of the thing that our world teaches us to fear the most. If the thing to fear the most has been defeated, what left is there to fear at all? Yet, our world seems to feed off of fear. Those seeking power stoke fear in order to control others. Fear separates and divides us. Especially in the last year of uncertainty, the language of fear invades much of our conversation, even within the church. Fear controls budgeting, mission dreaming, and even sharing the glorious Word of God with those around us. Fear has a hold of us all, even though Jesus defeated it by leaving the tomb.
So what can we do about that? First and foremost, we can pray. Prayer is more about us learning to bend to God’s will than anything else. As we open our hearts in conversation with God, we learn more and more to trust in the Divine and more of what it is to be God’s people. Second, we can study. Reading and studying God’s word in Scripture is the primary way we learn about God. Because it is so powerful, we must also learn to not rely solely on our own understanding. We need to encourage discussion and new perspectives of the great living word. Third, we must do. Being transformed into God’s image of us requires action. Grace is freely offered. Faith is our response to that grace. Action is the manifestation of that faith in the world. Sharing God’s love with the world is what happens when we believe in that love – a love that suffered, died, and rose again for each of and all of us.
We cannot let fear win, for it has already been defeated. Celebrate the wonder, mystery, and miracle of Easter. Claim resurrection! Be God’s people for a hurting world. We can do this, despite any difficulty or fear, for “you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the works of the Lord always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.”
Yours in Christ,